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Posts Tagged ‘temecula wines’

Wine Country Recipe ~ Prawn & Avocado Salad with Creamy Orange Chive Dressing

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

timthumbThis zesty and colorful salad with lemony prawns and a bright tangy dressing is the essence of California living. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Pinot Grigio or Rosé.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoons sea salt

¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 pound prawns (about 24), peeled and deveined

¼ cup full fat plain yogurt

3 tablespoons minced chives

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons minced orange zest

2 teaspoons minced lemon zest

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon sea salt

6 handfuls mixed lettuce greens

3 navel oranges, peel and pith removed with a knife, cut into ½-inch dice

2 large avocados, halved and pitted, flesh cut into ½ inch dice

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the prawns and mix well.

Place a steam basket or rack in a large saucepan. Add water to a level not quite touching the steamer. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the prawns, cover and steam for 3 minutes.

Remove the prawns from pan and set them aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil with the yogurt, chives, mayonnaise, orange juice, vinegar, orange zest, lemon zest, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt.

To serve, place a handful of mixed greens on each plate.

Top each serving with diced orange and avocado pieces, and prawns.

Drizzle each salad with dressing.

Season with pepper and garnish with a lemon wedge

Suggested Pairings: 

Baily Winery ~ 2014 Rosé of Sangiovese – Fun, fruity and full of character.

Danza del Sol Winery ~ 2015 Pinot Grigio – Soft candied aromas of honeysuckle, almonds and leche fruit.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery ~ 2015 Rosé of Sangiovese – A summery bouquet of rosy red fruit and flowers: strawberry, cherry, raspberry, rose petal and cherry blossom fill the nose and palate of this perfect warm weather wine.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards ~ 2015 Pinot Grigio – This wine offers subtle notes of green apple, lemon and pear, with a crisp refreshing finish.

Recipe & photo courtesy of The Wine Institute of California

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The Art of Wine Labels

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

RenzoniWineLabelYou can’t judge a wine by its label—but a beautiful “cover” certainly can’t hurt. Temecula Valley wineries are putting just as much creativity and originality into their label designs as they are in their wines. And the results are inspiring.

Wine labels are the first thing that attracts a consumer when contemplating which wine to choose. Some first-time shoppers even choose a wine by the label–after all, the label builds the anticipation of what’s inside the bottle. It’s the quality of the wine itself that makes customers loyal fans.

Temecula Valley vintners are adorning their bottles with art that is not only beautiful, sometimes even fun, but often tells a sentimental story. The label of Lorimar Winery’s 2014 Chardonnay bears scenic photographs of the vineyard from which it came, in each of the four seasons. The images were taken by Temecula-based photographer Bodhi Smith, and the four-image work, called “Seasons of Del Oro,” is for sale on coasters and as an art piece at the winery.

Oak Mountain Winery’s Double Trouble 2013 Riesling has a bright blue label depicting Buddy and Bandit, the two beloved Queensland Heelers of vintners Valerie and Steve Andrews. The label is a watercolor painting by local artist Tamra Gerard. The artwork also can be found in “Winery Dogs of USA” book #3.

Robert Renzoni Winery’s 2013 Fiore di Fano, a Super Tuscan blend of estate-grown Cabernet, Sauvignon, Brunello Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, has special meaning to owner and winemaker Robert Renzoni. The classically styled painting that adorns the label was a gift from a special friend he met on a journey to his family’s hometown, Fano, Italy.

Wiens Winery’s Red Crowded is a red-wine blend so-named for the “crowd” of varietals in each vintage, such as the Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Barbera, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Cabrenet Franc, Sangiovese and Syrah in the 2014. Red Crowded is one of a series, which also includes White Crowded and Pink Crowded (rosé) blends, fancifully designed featuring appropriately colored red, white and pink birds by local artist Kelly Vivanco. All three designs are available on posters and t-shirts.

Falkner Winery’s 2014 Risque Riesling is illustrated with a sleek black pump and tube of vibrant red lipstick in a classy nod to consumers, often women, according to owner Loretta  Falkner, who like a bit of sweetness in their white wine. Risque Riesling is part of Falkner’s sweet Seductive Series, which also includes a red blend and rosé.

South Coast Winery vintner Jim Carter commissioned artist Tamra Gerard to paint a portrait of his dear Aunt Ruby as she might have looked in the 1920s for his Ruby Cuvée. Both the label and the carefully crafted sparkling Syrah in the bottle are intended to capture the effervescent charm of Ruby Carter, who was always the belle of the ball. The art can be found on t-shirts, posters, coasters and magnets in South Coast’s gift shop.

Newly opened Fazeli Cellars pays homage to owner BJ Fazeli’s homeland with a series of wines named for acclaimed Persian poets. The 2012 Ferdowsi Cabernet Franc is named for Abu Ferdowsi, widely known as the most influential figure in Persian literature, and is designed by BJ’s daughter, Romy Fazeli. The artwork features a stylized grapevine symbolizing Fazeli’s “Our Roots Run Deep” motto.

These are just a few of the beautifully designed wine labels from Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. Not only are the wines carefully and passionately crafted, so are the labels.

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Red Curry Chicken

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

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This recipe, provided to us by Jason Rivas, Executive Chef at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, looks absolutely fabulous!  Chef Rivas says “To set the record straight, curry is not a dish.  It is a collaboration of spices and ingredients composed into one dish. Curries will vary from region to region, person to person, and family to family; but the best thing about a curry is it constantly evolves.”  You’ll want to pair this with South Coast Winery’s 2014 Riesling.

Ingredients:

Red Curry Paste:

2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp paprika
4 tsp New Mexico Chili Powder
1 tsp black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 6 oz can tomato paste
6 each garlic cloves crushed
1 large knob of ginger, finely grated

Directions:
Place cumin, coriander, mustard, paprika, chili powder, and black pepper in a sauté pan.  Toast spices over a medium heat for about 1-2 min, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Toasting the spices will help to release flavors and will give a different dynamic to the spice.

Place the toasted spices in a spice grinder and grind to a powder.

In a medium size bowl mix everything together.  It should form a paste.

Chicken:

2 whole chickens
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Directions:
Split each chicken into four pieces: Cut down the middle of the chicken, breast side first,  then continue all the way down through the back bone. Cutting through the back bone will require some force. Place one hand on the front of the blade to help set the blade into the bone; then grip the handle tight and push down hard to cut through the bone.

Cut in between the breast and the leg to separate the two. Repeat for both chickens.

Rub all the chicken parts liberally with the curry paste, let set for minimum 4 hours, up to 24 hours.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and preheat your oven to 350. Add a touch of olive oil to the skillet, season the chicken with salt and pepper, then place skin side down. Cook for about 4 mins then flip over. Once the chicken has been flipped over, place the skillet in the oven. Cook for about 20-30 mins. (or until chicken is done).

Photo courtesy of The Culinary Chronicles

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Tacos de Carnitas with Salsa Verde

Friday, April 29th, 2016

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So, are you a traditionalist and think that tacos are best enjoyed with beer or margaritas?  Well, we’re here to tell you that you’d be missing out if you didn’t consider serving them with wine instead! In honor of the upcoming Cinco de Mayo and our featuring of rosé wine this season, we dare you to try one of Temecula Valley’s dry rosé wines with this yummy Mexican favorite!

Ingredients:
2 medium onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 pounds boneless pork butt (shoulder), rind removed, cut into 2-inch cubes
Kosher salt
1 medium orange
6 cloves garlic, split in half
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick, broken into three or four pieces
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 medium tomatillos (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and split in half
2 jalapeño peppers, split in half lengthwise, stem removed
3 limes, cut into wedges
1 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta
24 corn tortillas

Directions:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 275 degrees. Cut one onion into fine dice and combine with cilantro. Refrigerate until needed. Split remaining onion into quarters. Set aside. Season pork chunks with 1 tablespoon salt and place in a 9 by 13 glass casserole dish. The pork should fill the dish with no spaces. Split orange into quarters and squeeze juice over pork. Nestle squeezed orange pieces into casserole. Add 2 onion quarters, 4 cloves garlic, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick to casserole. Nestle everything into an even layer. Pour vegetable oil over surface. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in oven. Cook until pork is fork tender, about 3 1/2 hours.

Set large fine-meshed strainer 1 quart liquid measure or bowl. Using tongs, remove orange peel, onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves from pork. Transfer pork and liquid to strainer. Let drain for 10 minutes. Transfer pork back to casserole. You should end up with about 1/2 cup liquid and 1/2 cup fat. Using a flat spoon or de-fatter, skim fat from surface and add back to pork. Shred pork into large chunks with fingers or two forks. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Transfer remaining liquid to medium saucepot.

Add tomatillos, remaining 2 onion quarters, remaining 2 garlic cloves, and jalapeños to saucepot with strained pork liquid. Add water until it is about 1-inch below the top of the vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until all vegetables are completely tender, about 10 minutes. Blend salsa with hand blender or in a stand-up blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Allow to cool and refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve: Place casserole dish with pork 4-inches under a high broiler and broil until brown and crisp on surface, about 6 minutes. Remove pork, stir with a spoon to expose new bits to heat, and broil again for 6 more minutes until crisp. Tent with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat tortillas. Preheat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Working one tortilla at a time, dip tortilla in bowl filled with water. Transfer to hot skillet and cook until water evaporates from first side and tortilla is browned in spots, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook until dry, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer tortilla to a tortilla warmer, or wrap in a clean dish towel. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

To eat, stack two tortillas on top of each other. Add two to three tablespoons carnitas mixture to center. Top with salsa verde, chopped onions and cilantro, and queso fresco. Serve with lime wedges.

Recipe courtesy of SeriousEats.com; photo courtesy of J. Kenji López-ALT

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Drink Now…Or Cellar?? The Real Story on Aging Wine

Monday, February 29th, 2016

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Think all wine gets better with age?  The truth is, only a tiny fraction of wine is actually designed to stand up to and improve with aging.  In fact, 99% of all wine we buy is meant to be drunk right now. Although, when we say a wine is meant to be drunk now, we mean it is intended to be consumed within five years or so of buying it.  After those five years are up, the wine can actually start to deteriorate and lose many of the qualities that made it so delicious in the first place.

Most wines worth cellaring are considered premium wines.  Expect them to cost at least $30 a bottle.  Now, this doesn’t mean that all $30+ wines are expected to cellar well. The ability of a wine to age is influenced by many factors including grape variety, vintage, viticultural practices, wine region and winemaking style.

What’s the science behind the aging of wine?  In general, wines with a low pH (such as Pinot Noir and Sangiovese) have a greater capability of aging. With red wines, a high level of flavor compounds, such as phenolics (most notably tannins), will increase the likelihood that a wine will be able to age. Wines with high levels of phenols include Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo and Syrah.

The white wines with the longest aging potential tend to be those with a high amount of extract and acidity. The acidity in white wines, acting as a preservative, has a role similar to that of tannins in red wines. The process of making white wines, which includes little to no skin contact, means that white wines have a significantly lower amount of phenolic compounds, though barrel fermentation and oak aging can impart some phenols. Similarly, the minimal skin contact with rosé wine limits their aging potential.

So, you’ve found a wine you love…. how will you know if it’s worth storing? The smart approach is to buy direct from the winery and talk to them about the wine and how long they think it will last. They can definitely give you a good baseline for an expiration date. Of course, we say that wine is meant to be enjoyed, not looked at in a cellar, so pop your corks often!

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Roasted Chicken Breast with Yukon Gold Potato Cakes and Infused Rosemary Oil Sauce

Monday, February 29th, 2016

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Tender chicken breast with a delicate, rosemary-scented cream sauce served alongside a golden-toasted potato cake with Parmesan. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Chardonnay.

Ingredients:

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 (3-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary

5 medium-sized Yukon Gold, or other waxy potatoes (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled and cut in half

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup half and half or light cream

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts

2 eggs slightly beaten, divided

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

4 (6-ounce) boneless half chicken breasts, skin on

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

½ cup half and half or light cream

½ cup chicken stock

1 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped

½ teaspoon minced rosemary leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a small, heavy-bottomed skillet over low heat. Add the rosemary sprigs and cook for 10 minutes. Set the pan aside.

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender about 20 to 30 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan, off the heat. Add the half and half, butter, and the 1 teaspoon salt. Mix and mash the potatoes with a large whisk or potato masher to a stiff, slightly lumpy consistency.

When the potatoes are completely cool, mix in the scallions, and half of the beaten egg.

Heat the oven to 375° F.

Coat a large baking sheet with the vegetable oil. Form the potato mixture into 8 round cakes, 1-inch thick, and place them on the oiled sheet.

Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the potato cakes with the remaining egg and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until the tops of the cakes are golden brown.

While the potato cakes are cooking, sprinkle both sides of the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the rosemary oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken breasts skin side down and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook 2 minutes. Spoon the fat in the pan over the chicken breasts.

Place the skillet in the oven (with the potato cakes) and roast the chicken for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Let rest, for at least 5 minutes.

In the meantime, make the sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons of the rosemary oil with the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour, and bring to a sizzle over medium heat stirring frequently.

Add the chicken stock and half and half. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, to thicken the sauce. Add the parsley and minced rosemary and simmer for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, cut each half breast crosswise into 8 slices. Arrange the chicken slices and 2 potato cakes on each plate. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.  Serves 4.

Suggested Pairings:

Bel Vino Winery ~ 2013 Chardonnay – Classic aromas of white peach and pear complemented by toasted almond aromas.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery ~ 2012 Winemaker’s Reserve Chardonnay – Silky and fresh on the palate, reminiscent of tropical pineapples, zesty kumquats, creamy caramel and apples.

Falkner Winery ~ 2014 Chardonnay -Delicious ripe apple and apricot flavors in a medium bodied, creamy textured wine.

Thornton Winery ~ 2014 Chardonnay  – Green apples and barrel spices with a mineral note.

 Recipe courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Asian Pork Shoulder Stew with Anise

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

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Fragrant anise adds a subtle sweetness to this warming stew. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Zinfandel or Pinot Gris.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into 4 wedges
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3½ cups chicken stock
1 whole star anise pod
1 large sweet potato (about 1½ pounds) peeled, cut into 1-inch-thick rounds, each cut into 4 wedges
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds
3 tablespoons flour, mixed with 3 tablespoons cold water
soy sauce

Directions:

Heat the vegetable oil in a wide 5- to 6-quart pot over medium heat until hot but not smoking.

Add the pork and brown for 3 minutes on each side. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger; cook and stir for 3 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and anise. Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours.

Add the potatoes and carrots. Uncover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the flour-and-water mixture and simmer for 10 minutes.

To serve, divide the stew among 4 to 6 bowls. Pass soy sauce at the table.

Suggested Pairings:

Danza del Sol Winery ~ 2014 Pinot Grigio – Aromas of honeysuckle and juicy pears with a hint of citrus lead into flavors of bright melon with a balanced, crisp acidity.

Leoness Cellars ~ 2013 Zinfandel – Rich and full-bodied, this wine offers aromas and flavors of sweet blackberry and plum with hints of spice and black licorice framed by soft tannins and a long, silky finish.

Maurice Car’rie Vineyard & Winery ~ 2012 Zinfandel – Aromas of raspberry jam, Red Delicious apples and finishes off with toasted black pepper.

Monte De Oro Winery ~ 2014 Pinot Gris – Off-dry-to-dry, medium-bodied wine with a nice balance of acidity, alcohol and flavor.

Recipe courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Holiday Gift Giving ~ Temecula Style!

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

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Need that perfect holiday gift?? We’re sure that nothing would be appreciated more than a little something from Temecula Valley Wine Country! What could be better than sipping wine while shopping for everyone on your list? Our Temecula Valley winery gift shops offer unique and charming wine-themed gifts, specialty food, home decor and, of course, wine!

Not only does wine make the perfect gift for friends, neighbors and family, but it also makes for a great host gift or corporate gifts. You can purchase by the case for the best price!

Besides wine, wine club memberships make excellent gifts! Most Temecula wineries offer affordable wine club memberships with year-round benefits such as free wine tastings, VIP pricing on wine and special events, pick-up parties and more. If you’d prefer to shop online, many wineries offer the ability to sign up for wine clubs online. Of course, wine can also be purchased online and shipped to most states.

Or, perhaps, you’re just looking for wine for your holiday gathering. Many of our wineries offer festive white and red dessert wines, either late harvest or port-style. Some festive wine options include: South Coast Winery’s sparkling wine line, Thornton NV Cuvee Rouge, and Callaway’s Late Harvest Cabernet and dessert wines. Be sure to check out Wilson Creek Winery, which offers white, red, and sparkling wines with custom and personalized holiday labels.

Happy holidays from Temecula Valley Wine Country! We look forward to celebrating with you soon.

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Friday, August 28th, 2015

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Harvest season….it’s the hustle and bustle, the night time glow of the lights in the vineyards and the bins full of fruit.

Although winemaking happens all year long, the harvesting of the grapes is one of the most crucial parts of the winemaking process.  To ensure quality wine, one of the most important decisions a winemaker must make is when to pick the grapes. Determining when to harvest requires a bit of science; the grapes’ acidity and sweetness should be in perfect balance. Of course, Mother Nature also plays a vital role in the ripening of grapes; a mid-summer rain can slow the ripening process and leave the vines susceptible to fungus.

In Temecula Valley, because of our warm weather, our harvest crews mostly pick the fruit at night or in the cool hours of the very early morning.  Thus, images of winemakers growing beards and sleeping during the day start appearing on our Facebook feed.

While there’s a lot more to harvest season than just harvesting the grapes, this signals the beginning of what truly is the most wonderful time of the year!  Be sure to follow us on Facebook for a glimpse into harvest happenings.

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Celebrating California Wine Month

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

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Although we never need a reason to raise a glass in celebration, we’re eagerly awaiting the return of California Wine Month.  This September marks the 11th consecutive year that California’s governor has proclaimed California Wine Month; in honor of our state’s contribution as the leading wine industry in the United States.

September is the perfect time to visit Temecula Valley Wine Country. We invite wine lovers to explore and experience our premiere wine country in two ways.  SIP your way through wine country with the SIP Passport; you pick which four of the 30+ wineries to visit and when to visit them throughout the month.  Or, experience each of our wineries at our region’s signature food and wine event, CRUSH!

Event Details:

September SIP Passport:

When: Valid September 1-30; visits may be concurrent or spaced throughout the month.

What: Voucher for a full tasting flight at any four participating Temecula Valley wineries; includes souvenir wine glass.

Tickets: $40 per person (Monday-Thursday); $50 per person (Friday-Sunday). For more information and tickets, click here.

6th Annual CRUSH ~  A Wine & Culinary Showcase

When: Saturday, September 19 from 7-10:00 p.m.

Where: Wiens Family Cellars, 35055 Via Del Ponte, Temecula, CA 92592

What: Upscale event bringing together 30+ Temecula Valley wineries; fine cuisine from local chefs, caterers and restaurants and live entertainment to set the mood.

Tickets: All-inclusive tickets are $85 per person; VIP Tickets are $110 and include admittance to the pre-event exclusive winemaker tasting and reception, beginning at 6:00pm. Tickets are on sale now here!

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